Despite paying the highest Thanksgiving gas prices in four years, look for busy roadways and packed airports in New England this holiday, when 2.4 million in the New England region make their annual holiday pilgrimages.
Of the 2.4 million traveling New Englanders, nearly 87 percent plan to drive this year, a 5 percent increase from 2017, projects AAA in its annual holiday travel survey. The holiday period is Wednesday to Sunday, Nov. 21 to 25.
Average gas prices today in Connecticut continue to drop but are still higher than previous Thanksgivings. Today, the price of a gallon of self-serve, regular is $2.88, which is 17 cents higher than at this time last year. On the national level, average gas prices today are $2.62, which is 8 cents higher than last year.
Thanksgiving has always been one of the busiest holidays for road trips, said Fran Mayko, AAA Northeast spokeswoman.
“And no matter the cost of fuel or other expenses, people generally travel because it’s a holiday where family and friends have a need to gather,” she said. “That desire to spend time with loved ones actually drives the increase in travel volume.”
Be warned, however, the anticipated traveler increase in New England, there will come great traffic congestion on roadways, she added.
- “Based on historical trends, drivers will experience the greatest amount of traffic tomorrow evening (Tuesday, Nov. 20) between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. during rush hour when commuters mix with holiday travelers,” Mayko said.
So if you’re taking a longer vacation — one where you’re not just visiting Granny for pumpkin pie — you’re urged to leave today (Monday, Nov. 19).
“Even better travel days though would be Friday and Saturday after the holiday,” Mayko said.
New York area and Boston area traffic delays are estimated to be four times longer than normal between 5:30 7:30 p.m.,” she added. “Sunday also is expected to be a busy travel day, when vacationers make their return trips home.”
As far as air travel is concerned, Tuesday and Wednesday usually are the most popular air travel days, despite the highest round-trip ticket prices.
Flying on the actual holiday, however, consistently offers the lowest average ticket price and the least congestion, she said.